Seattle students may walk out Monday in protest

On Monday, several schools in this area are expected to join protests against Donald Trump.

A spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools confirms the district has learned students may stage a walkout Monday at 1:30 p.m. as part of a "national protest" among students. The district has heard that students who walk out of class will go to the front of their schools for a photo to protest the outcome of the presidential election.

Seattle Public Schools said students who participate in the walkout Monday will get an "unapproved absence" but will not face discipline.

“Kids are hurting. They do not need to be punished. They need to talk about it,” said SPS spokesperson Luke Duecy.

But the planned walkouts at several schools are prompting some intense reaction from parents and from people on social media.

"If my kids choose to take part, and I hope they do, then when they come home we're going to meet them with support and support their decision to take part in the walkout," said Adam Watson.

He and his wife Amber said they had a conversation with their 13-year-old twins, letting them know they wouldn't get in trouble if they chose to walk out of the classroom to voice their opposition to a Donald Trump presidency.

"I don't think just because you're not old enough to vote, that you're not old enough to have your own opinion," said Amber Watson.  "And it surprises me that some parents would discourage their kids, because they will be old enough to vote in just a couple years."

Still, many parents joined the conversation on the KING 5 Facebook page and said they're instructing their kids to stay in class and steer clear of the walkouts.

"Let's teach them better.  Because they need to stay in school and learn and be educated," said Tammy Hammrich, who has two children in Seattle Public Schools.  "My kids won't.  My 18-year-old will stay in class and if he partakes in the walkout, he knows he'll get in trouble when he comes home."

Hammrich says safety concerns are a big part of the reason she feels that way.

"I want him to learn about it, but I don't want him to be any part of a hot topic, and right now it's a very dangerous and hot topic," she said.

About 200 West Seattle High School students walked out of school Wednesday morning and marched through the streets.

Thousands of people in cities nationwide, including Seattle, have been protesting each night since Donald Trump won the presidential election. Most have been peaceful, but one in Portland Thursday night turned destructive.

In regards to the walkouts set to take place on Monday, a spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools said the protests are not sanctioned by the district, but SPS students do have the right to peacefully demonstrate and express their personal views.

But again, when a student leaves school without permission the district considers it an unexcused or unapproved absence.

The district says school staff are not taking part in the student-organized demonstrations, but staff may be observing students during the protest for safety and security reasons.

In addition, several schools are currently developing lessons and activities, according to a district spokesperson, "to have appropriate, post-election conversations" in school buildings.

KING 5's Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 KING


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